The “Richest Square Mile on Earth” May Be the Most Haunted

Central City, Colorado, 1865

Central City, Colorado, 1865

Life in mining towns was not easy. Many died untimely and violent deaths – deaths from diseases, from hostile environments, from mining accidents, from crime, and even from broken hearts. Conditions were ripe for creating ghosts and many mining towns today claim hauntings. Central City, Colorado, also known as “the richest square mile on earth” was a thriving mining town during the gold rush area and to this day many of its first residents and visitors still roam its buildings, streets, and cemeteries.

On the main intersection of the town was a building housing one of these restless spirits on its second floor. During the late 1980s, the second floor of this building was the annex for the Golden Rose Hotel, the main building being directly across the street from it.

The hotel was a replication of earlier days, all furnishings were actual gold rush era pieces, and to preserve the historical ambiance there were no telephones in the rooms. Guests would have to walk across the street to the main lobby to talk to hotel personnel. With a ghost living in one of the rooms, guests made the trip over to the main building quite often.

I worked in the hotel in 1990 and 1991 until the building was sold to be turned into a casino. Room 25 seemed to have its problems. Windows would open themselves, which would not have been so hard to rationalize if they had not had to slide up to be opened. Water faucets turned themselves on, clothes and other objects would disappear and then turn up on the bed when the occupants got ready to leave. When the haunted room was empty, any guests in rooms on either side would come to the desk to report fights in the room.

I remember one guest had reported that items were missing from his room. We assured him that our housekeepers were extremely honest people, but he seemed to not be convinced until just before check-out he came in and spoke to me. He told me that his belongings had turned up, just as I had indicated they might do. He seemed shaken, and I again reassured him that this was not a prank that anyone on our staff would orchestrate. He agreed readily that it was not our staff. It seems he had already packed and was writing a quick letter to mail on his way to his next destination. When he turned to the bed his belongings were neatly laid on the foot of the bed. When I remarked that it was highly unlikely that someone could have snuck in to replace the items without him hearing them, he just laughed. It seems that he had been facing the mirror on the desk in his room while writing and that no one could have moved anywhere in the vicinity of the bed without him having seen them – and no one had. His missing belongings seem to have just materialized out of thin air.

Several times during my employment with the Golden Rose, guests in rooms next to the haunted room came to me to report fights in the next room. When I would just calmly smile and assure them everything was quite in order, they would protest so furiously that I would have to walk across to the annex with them and open the door of the room where the “fights” were taking place. It was interesting to see the colors the guest’s faces would turn when I opened the door revealing that the room was indeed unoccupied, and neatly ordered with nothing out of place or destroyed. Some guests loved it, some insisted on moving to the main building for the rest of their stay.

Central City, Colorado

Central City, Colorado

When gaming was re-legalized in 1991 the annex was sold and converted into a casino. I went off to a business partnership running a parking lot, shuttles, and some miscellaneous marketing. Part of this marketing involved doing coupons for some of the casinos. Checking an order one day, I went to Doc Holliday’s Casino – which was in the building that had housed the Golden Rose Annex just months before. It was early morning and when I entered the office the secretary was quite frazzled and was sorting a very disordered stack of papers on her desk.

She complained loudly that the “guys” kept forgetting to shut the windows and file cabinet drawers at night and she was many mornings faced with picking files up off the floor and reorganizing them. She was also not pleased with the disappearance of files, which would invariably turn back up on her desk at a later time, but she could never find out who was taking the files in the first place. The room the office was in? You guessed it. Doc Holliday’s Casino office was located in none other than the haunted annex room. I was told that the casino was called Doc Holliday’s because it was believed that the ghost of Doc Holliday inhabited the building.

He actually died and was buried in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Whether he actually has taken up permanent residence in Central City, a town he frequented often during life, or not will probably always be a mystery. It is no mystery that SOMEONE has decided to take up permanent residence in that room, however.

This is only one instance of haunting in Central City. For people interested in ghost hunting, I would be hard-pressed to think of a better place to visit. You will find that there are scores of very well-known haunted places there, and quite a few lesser-known ones as well if you talk to residents that have lived in the area for a time.


Doc Holliday Casino, Central City, Colorado

The Doc Holliday Casino is located past the turnoff to Harvey’s Casino on the corner of
Main Street and Lawrence in Central City, Colorado. Photo courtesy Central

©2005 Sally Taylor, updated February 2020.

About the Author:  Sally Taylor is an avid gem and treasure hunter, explorer, writer, and is the owner of Rockhound Station 1,  a global rockhound community website that provides forums, articles, a newsletter, and more. Article Source:  Ezine Articles

Also See:

Colorado – The Centennial State

Colorado Ghost Towns

Gilpin County Ghosts

Haunted Colorado

Readers input – Katie H (submitted June 2022)

! Just wanted to affirm all the details Sally Taylor wrote of. I also worked at the Golden Rose Hotel. I was a housekeeper there from 1985-1987. I was usually the only housekeeper, especially in the winter months. I absolutely loved and appreciated the beautiful rooms and took great pride in their upkeep. However after being by myself many times in the annex-Rooms 21-26 and having so many scary and unexplainable events happen I finally stopped cleaning over there by myself when I could avoid it.

The room she writes about was by far the scariest and I can remember getting in and out of there as quickly as possible, usually with the hairs on the back of my neck standing up!! It is great to know my suspicions were pretty spot on. Thank you for the article. I only found it because I was talking with a friend about the Teller House Hotel and then wanted to show a pic of the Golden Rose Hotel. I absolutely loved those two little mining towns (Black Hawk and Central City) I am glad we had already left the area before gambling came in and changed so much of both towns. I lived there from 1982-1988.